Russian Doping Fiasco Continues
Major Ramifications from Mclaren Report, Part 2 In a dramatic reversal, Russian authorities stopped denying widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
The fallout continues from the Russian doping scandal. This follows the publication on Dec. 9 of the World Anti-doping Agency's (WADA) Mclaren Investigation Report, Part 2, relating to allegations of systemic doping in Russia, especially in connection with the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The Mclaren Report, Part 2 suggests that up to 1,000 athletes could have been involved in Russia's massive doping scandal. Of these, 28 Nordic athletes were highlighted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), while it seems that some 31 biathletes are listed within the pages of Mclaren's damning report.
In late December, Swedish media decoded information in the Mclaren Report to tentatively identify athletes being investigated, including top Russian skiers Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin and Nikita Kriukov.
About the same time, in a dramatic reversal, Russian authorities stopped denying widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Anna Antseliovich, acting director-general of Russia's national anti-doping agency, RUSADA, spoke of “an institutional conspiracy,” but claimed that the government's top officials were not involved. And Vitaly Smirnov, appointed by President Vladimir Putin to reform the country's anti-doping system, admits that “we made a lot of mistakes.”
Soon after the 2017 Cross-country World Cup finals, originally scheduled for the Siberian city of Tyumen were awarded to Quebec City, Que. in Canada to be held March 17-19, marking the second time in history that the FIS Cross-country World Cup finals have been held on this side of the Atlantic. The inaugural occasion was in Canmore, Alta. in 2016.
Meanwhile, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Youth/junior World Championships 2017 moved from Ostrov, Russia to Osrblie, Slovakia for Feb. 22-28. The BMW IBU World Cup #8 originally scheduled for Tyumen, Russia was relocated to Kontiolahti, Finland from March 6-12.
In January, a group representing 19 national anti-doping agencies met in Ireland and wants to exclude Russia from all international sports while allowing individual Russians to participate as “neutral practitioners.”
Then in early February, the FIS Doping Panel upheld the suspensions of four Russian cross-country skiers: Julia Ivanova, Evgenia Shapovalova, Alexey Petukhov and Vylegzhanin. These four were among six Russian cross-country skiers provisionally suspended on Dec. 22, 2016 due to the findings of the Mclaren Report because of alleged doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
In November, Sheik Ahmad Al-fahad Al-sabah, a Kuwaiti member of the IOC and president of the National Olympic Committees (NOCS), suggested reforms to WADA and that the agency move to Switzerland because of its strong stands against Russian doping.
In efforts to keep WADA'S international headquarters in Montreal, mayor Denis Coderre traveled to Switzerland in January to talk with IOC chairman Thomas Bach.
In apparent retaliation for the strong sanctions imposed on Russian athletes, a group calling itself the “Fancy Bears” hacked into WADA computers to leak confidential information in September 2016 about many leading sports figures worldwide. WADA claims that the attacks originated from inside Russia.
This leaked information typically involved the various athletes' Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) forms in an attempt to deflect attention from Russia and suggests the problem is not only in Russia. The most publicized case was that of Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour de France while accessing the otherwise banned steroid triamcinolone.
Various intelligence reports also link the Fancy Bears to the Russian government's apparent hacking attacks this summer against the Democratic National Convention in the U.S. According to allegations by the FBI, these attacks represented a foreign power trying to interfere with U.S. politics. Some suggest Fancy Bears leaked information about Hillary Clinton that may have tipped the 2016 presidential election in favour of Republican Donald Trump.